Monday, December 24, 2007

God With Us

Small manger
And so it's Christmas Eve. Time to put away all past hurts, disappointments, and bitterness and drag out the Christmas cheer. Peace on Earth, good will to men, I believe it is. Welcome the black sheep, hug the in-laws, smile and spread the Christmas cheer. Time to take off the boxing gloves and share a toast. Lay down the arms and shake hands. Let bygones be bygones. After all, it's Christmas.

But what happens when it is over? Do we pack away Christmas in all of its neat, tidy containers and shove it back in the cold attic for another year? Or do we split the ornaments in half? I want this one. You take that one. These are mine. Those are yours. And you can shove that tree up your blankety-blank-blank sideways angel and all.

What happens in January when your loved ones just barely out of their teens head overseas to defend their country, their way of life, and themselves by any means necessary? When they are surrounded by a sandbox of bloodthirsty marauders and good will is nowhere to be found? What then?

What happens when that credit card statement comes in the mail, along with the house note and electric bill, and little Johnny takes ill with the sniffles and needs an $80 prescription to clear his ears? Will you remember carols sung by the fire and folks dressed up like Eskimos? Or will you think more of chestnuts roasting on an open fire?

Will you still be remember the warm feeling the wassail gave you when tragedy strikes and a love one is taken? Will shiny presents and high-tech toys comfort you in your grief? Will Jingle Bells soothe that ache within or dry your tears? Can Jimmy Stewart really make it a wonderful life for you then? I think not.

Why then, have Christmas at all? If things are so bad. If we have no hope of tomorrow. If when all the sparkle and shine has faded, we are still the same dark, cold, bitter beings inside, then what is the point? There has to be more to it than a fat man and 8 tiny reindeer. "Happy holidays" is a hollow greeting without Christ isn't it?

If not for Jesus, then Christmas might as well be just another day. Whoever "they" is might just be right. Jesus might not have been born on December 25th. But the point is, He WAS BORN. He did come to Earth. He did die for us. He does live again. He came to seek and save those who were lost. He came to give us life and life more abundantly. He came to bear our sins and guilt, to send us a Comforter, to heal our broken hearts. To heal our sick bodies. He came, not in the pomp and circumstance and glory of the King he was. But he met us, he met Mary and Joseph, the shepherd, the wise men, the Sadducees, the Pharisees—He met the woman at the well, all right where they were. He ate with sinners. He washed the feet of his brothers. He loved to the point of torture and death.

It is for this reason I can celebrate even though it appears through our circumstances that life is crumbling at my feet. Dare I pack Him away for another year, only to take Him and put Him on display like a common yard ornament the next? Or will I keep His light shining in my heart year round? This and only this Light will keep me sane, will get me through, will comfort me, hold me, love me through it all. God is with me. He is the Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Emmanuel, Name above all names, the Lion of Judah, the Rose of Sharon,and the Bright Morning Star. He is, indeed, the Christ in Christmas.

"And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" Matt 16:16

"And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS. For he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matt. 1:20-21


Anonymous said...

cindy, this is so good. Jesus has seen us through some bad times. He be with you in 2008 and so will your family. I love you, K

Bethany Pledge said...

You're right on, Cindy. You make it so clear and direct that Christmas doesn't really help or change anything -- but praise be to the God who is with us, Jesus.

This is the best post I've seen on the simple theme "Jesus is the reason for the season." It is not cliched because I can tell it comes from your heart and life right now, and you express it well. I hope I keep His light shining all year round, too, long after I take down my Christmas lights.

Thanks & blessings,

Sista Cala said...

You do have a way with the words.... That 7th paragraph sounded a little like Sunday's sermon...ummmm...
Thanks for being there w/me. Please know that I will be there for you. love cala

Lisa said...


ps-love the music! I see that Diane has this also! I'll be working on that for mine, also...very cool!